Islamabad: Abdul Rehman Khan, Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the government in the current budget has increased the income tax rate on the turnover of flour mills from 0.25 to 1.25 percent, which is a 400 percent increase in one go and would cause sharp rise in flour price. Therefore, he demanded that the government should immediately withdraw the unjustified increase in income tax rate on turnover of flour mills to save the general public from high inflation. He said this while addressing a meeting of the business community at ICCI. Former Senior Vice Presidents ICCI Khalid Chaudhry & Naveed Malik, former Vice Presidents ICCI Saif ur Rehman Khan & Saeed Ahmed Bhatti, former Executive Member ICCI Ch. Mazhar and others were in the meeting.
Abdul Rehman Khan said that the sales tax on bran was abolished four years ago which was welcomed by the flour millers but in the current budget a sales tax of 17% has been imposed on bran which will also give rise to inflation. “Flour is a basic need of the people and the high cost of flour has a direct impact on the life of the common man,” he said. Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen should immediately withdraw the increase in income tax rate for flour mills and the imposition of sales tax on bran in the budget to save the people from further miseries.
The ICCI Vice President further said that wheat was not available in the market despite the government’s claim of a bumper crop of wheat while about 600,000 tonnes of wheat has been imported. He emphasized that the government should focus on controlling the hoarding and stop seizing of wheat loaded trucks along the way, otherwise the flour will become more expensive, which cannot be blamed on the flour mills.
Abdul Rehman Khan said that if this situation continued, the price of a 20 kg bag of flour would go up to Rs.1200, which would make bread more expensive in the market. The government has hinted at raising taxes for small industry, which is not a welcome move. He stressed that to save the people from further hardships and difficulties, the government should immediately restore the income tax rate on the turnover of flour mills to 0.25% and also withdraw 17% sales tax on bran.